Monday, May 21, 2007

Faith and Medicine in Houston

Houstonians are more apt to turn to religion for health and well-being than doctors, according to a story in today's Houston Chronicle.

The results of a recent survey on health and well-being revealed that although Houston has one of the great medical centers in the world, 43% of the residents turn first to religious organizations and their leaders as their first source of help in matters of health and well being, while only 21% cited doctors. One local doctor joked that medical information has become "so hard to interpret that you almost do need divine guidance" and that at least you know where your pastor is one day a week. I have to note that the survey only polled 150 people, so some are critical of the results.

Still, this story reminded me that there is clearly a co-operative relationship between medical science and religion in Houston. World-renowned cancer center MD Anderson is creating a new palliative care program for patients in terminal care. My good friend and pastor is leaving his church call this week to work with the doctor in charge of the program to oversee the spiritual component of the program that the hospital sees as an integral part of the care it provides. MD Anderson called him after an extensive nationwide search to fill this new chaplaincy. It is a very exciting opportunity for him, and his ministry will be a blessing to people from all over the world. Godspeed, Rev. Steve.


Dustin James said...

QG, one knows that God is at work when compassionate, caring and grace-filled people like Pastor Steve are called to such important ministries. How fortunate for those facing end-of-life issues that Steve will be there for them, in addition to a caring and loving God. We will continue to be blessed by his ministry. It may well be that Steve will be there for one of us.

God Bless,

Quotidian Grace said...

Amen to that, Dustin!

Presbyterian Gal said...

I believe that UCLA medical center has a similar program.

It's about time for this. Rev. Steve must be a special person indeed. Blessings on his work.

Gannet Girl said...

This is so wonderful, for a host of reasons that would fill dozens of comment spaces. But the one that immediately comes to mind has to do with my stepmother's death from cancer and our fruitless effort to help her and my father involve hospice or any other support orgnaization or system. They were completely aligned with the authority of the medical system, but her high-profile oncologist had an office woefully unprepared to deal with all the non-physical aspects of cancer (which would be most of the aspects of cancer). They are/were not religious people at all, but had the medical system offered some sort of holistic/spiriutal component that they might have understood as part of the entire treatment plan, perhaps the end of their time together could have been different.

Singing Owl said...

(((((gannet girl))))) How very sad.

And I too rejoice at this cooperation and am stopping to say a prayer for Steve.